UK & Ireland
Bruce Kilpatrick to rejoin Magic Circle firm’s leading antitrust practice after 16 years at AG. Linklaters has hired the head of Addleshaw Goddard’s (AG) competition team in London to bolster its antitrust and foreign investment practice. Bruce Kilpatrick brings more than 25 years’ experience advising clients on complex merger control, antitrust enforcement and foreign direct investment cases, as well as defending high stakes antitrust damages litigation and director disqualification proceedings before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. His return to Linklaters will follow more than 16 years at AG, where he had led the competition and regulatory team for more than a decade.
Kathlene Burke has joined Maples and Calder’s dispute resolution and insolvency practice as an of counsel in Dublin. Ms Burke will provide Irish restructuring advice to the firm’s European and global clients from Dublin and will work closely with the firm’s global dispute resolution and insolvency practices on cross-border matters.
Ed Kelly has re-joined Holmes as a senior solicitor specialising in commercial litigation and dispute resolution, while Isabel Treacy has joined as a senior associate solicitor specialising in the areas of commercial property and public and administrative law. The firm’s Dublin office has also been bolstered with the appointment of Susan O’Reilly as of counsel in Holmes’ corporate unit and Rachel Naughton BL as legal counsel specialising in data protection.
Power Law LLP has welcomed Billy Casserly to the firm as a senior associate in its dispute resolution team. Mr Casserly is an experienced corporate lawyer with a decade of experience working in-house and in large Dublin law firms. He will be based in the firm’s Galway office.
The US-headquartered firm has seen a number of partner exits in 2023. Linklaters has hired a Kirkland & Ellis partner to boost its intellectual property litigation team in London. IP litigator Katie Coltart will join at the end of October after five years at Kirkland, according to LinkedIn. She previously worked at Allen & Overy for six years.
Public sector and EU law duo join in Dusseldorf alongside corporate partner and team of associates. Pinsent Masons has bolstered its bench in Germany with the hire of a trio of partners from Dentons. Public sector and EU law partners Andreas Haak and Dr Lars Hettich have joined the firm in Dusseldorf alongside corporate partner Dr Michael Krömker. The trio is joined by EU and state aid legal director Dr Barbara Thiemann and a team of associates.
Zingisa Motloba brings 20 years’ experience to Bowmans, having previously worked at Mercedes, Eskom and the South African Bureau of Standards. Bowmans has enhanced its private equity skills-base with the appointment of Zingisa Motloba as a partner in its Johannesburg practice. She is joining from the South African Bureau of Standards where she was an executive for standards development.
Dentons LuatViet, AZB & Partners and Tilleke & Gibbins have all hired new partners. CMS has hired a partner for its Hong Kong office, less than a month since the firm brought on a team of four lawyers including former Hauzen partner Anthony Woo as a senior consultant and DLA Piper of counsel Adrian Elms as a partner. This time around, joining CMS is shipping and insurance partner Richard Oakley from the Hong Kong office of Ince & Co. Ince recently also lost its litigation partner Stephen Chan to U.K. firm Charles Russell Speechlys.
With Arie Eernisse joining, Peter & Kim, which has offices in Korea, Switzerland, Australia and Singapore, now counts 21 lawyers in Seoul. Swiss-Korean international arbitration boutique Peter & Kim has strengthened its cross-border dispute resolution capability with the hire of Arie Eernisse, who was most recently a senior foreign attorney at Big Six South Korean law firm Shin & Kim. At Peter & Kim, Eernisse will take on the title as senior foreign attorney.
The firm’s Japan practice launch has been enabled, in part, by its hire of corporate M&A lawyer Hiroshi Sarumida. U.S. law firm Akerman has launched a Japan sector team focusing on Japanese businesses operating globally. The firm’s sector launch has been enabled, in part, by its hire of corporate M&A lawyer Hiroshi Sarumida, who was most recently the U.S. chair of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Japan transactional practice. Sarumida is joining Akerman as a partner. Sarumida will serve as a co-leader of the Japan sector transactional team alongside corporate partner and co-leader Michael Doherty, with litigation partner Richard Brosnick acting as the Japan litigation team leader. The Japan sector team, which consists of 10 lawyers, covers transactional, litigation, regulatory, commercial and operational matters. Akerman currently has no offices based in Asia.
Duo include first-chair trial veterans Grant Esposito and David Fioccola. Top 50 US firm Proskauer Rose has made a twin litigation partner hire from Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) as it seeks to expand its disputes coverage in New York. The duo include first-chair trial lawyers Grant Esposito and David Fioccola, who will join the firm’s commercial litigation and trial strategies groups respectively. Esposito brings experience across commercial and class action litigation in areas such as antitrust, mass torts, product liability, healthcare, environmental, securities and transactional disputes. Fioccola defends clients in complex commercial disputes and consumer class actions, including ‘bet the company’ litigation.
M&A and regulatory partners join in New York and Chicago. Paul Hastings has added three partners from Sidley Austin and Mayer Brown to expand its insurance industry work. Insurance M&A partners Kirk Lipsey and Chad Vance have joined from Sidley in New York and Chicago respectively, while insurance regulatory partner Sanjiv Tata has joined in New York from Mayer Brown.
Rottenstreich Farley Bronstein Fisher Potter Hodas, focused solely on high net-worth family law matters, is already in West Palm Beach and New York. Family law litigation boutique firm Rottenstreich Farley Bronstein Fisher Potter Hodas is expanding into Miami with a new office, adding to its outposts in West Palm Beach and New York. The firm tapped Miami-based Richard Segal as co-managing partner along with Zachary Potter, who was already at the firm in its West Palm Beach office. Segal joins from Segal Zuckerman, a boutique he helped found with his lifelong friend Jamie Zuckerman.
Quartet of patent experts joins recent Cooley hire Amy Baker Mandragouras to boost Foley’s life sciences IP practice. Boston-based law firm Foley Hoag has put the finishing touches to a team hire from rival Cooley to bolster its life sciences and IP offerings. The all-female team is led by partner Amy Baker Mandragouras, who moved over from Cooley in August, and includes counsel Erika Wallace and Maya Elbert, an associate, a patent agent and a number of patent administrative professionals who have since joined the firm. Technology specialist Lillian Schmaltz has also joined the group; she was previously a graduate research and teaching assistant at the University of Texas. All the team members are based in Boston except Elbert, who will work out of Foley’s New York offices.
Frost Brown Todd M&A partner Cleve Glenn, who joined Baker & Hostetler as a partner in Houston, is also a former general counsel and chief financial officer at an energy company. Baker & Hostetler expanded its energy team in Houston by adding Frost Brown Todd M&A partner Cleve Glenn, who earlier in his career was an energy services company general counsel and chief financial officer. Glenn joined Baker & Hostetler as a partner on Monday in the business practice group and as a member of the M&A team and the energy team.
Legacy firms Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton both had similar capabilities in the area, according to partner Will Taylor, one of the two founders of the group. Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders has announced the creation of a new corporate espionage response team, which looks to help clients combat third-party theft or use of confidential or proprietary information for their own commercial advantage. The group, founded by national labor and employment practice partner Evan Gibbs and commercial litigation partner Will Taylor, is comprised of attorneys scattered across Troutman Pepper’s Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Boston and Richmond, Virginia, offices, including 14 partners, one counsel and two associates.
Alexis Bortniker, who spent more than a decade at Foley & Lardner, joined Cooley as a partner in San Diego. Cooley has hired Alexis Finkelberg Bortniker, the co-chair of the health care transaction group at Foley & Lardner, as a partner in San Diego. Bortniker joined Cooley in its global life sciences and health care regulatory practice group. Previously, Bortniker spent more than a decade at Foley & Lardner, where she also led its health care and life sciences sector’s payer/provider convergence area of focus.
Kirkland & Ellis corporate partner Tony Johnston joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher as a partner in Dallas as the firm, like others, expands its energy and infrastructure team due to activity in the sectors. With energy and infrastructure a standout sector this year, Willkie Farr & Gallagher continues to hire lawyers with that focus by adding Kirkland & Ellis private equity partner Tony Johnston as a partner in Texas. Johnston practices in Dallas, but will be based in the firm’s Houston office. He joined the firm on Wednesday as a partner in the corporate and financial services department.
Skims Body, the underwear and fashion label co-founded by US reality TV star Kim Kardashian, has hired Colin Bennett as its first general counsel, Bloomberg reported this week.Bennett joined in July from meal-kit company Hello Fresh, where he was GC. At Skims, he will also serve as chief compliance officer. He told Bloomberg that he expects to grow the company’s in-house legal team and will report directly to Skims’ co-founder and CEO Jens Grede.
US broadband and cable operator Charter Communications has named Jamal Haughton as its new general counsel, replacing Rick Dykhouse, who announced his retirement plans earlier this year. Haughton joins from Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment, where he was GC, corporate secretary and executive vice president. At Charter, he will also serve as corporate secretary and executive vice president. As head of the company’s legal department, he will oversee all legal and regulatory matters.
Music publishing and management business Seeker Music has hired veteran music lawyer Dan Stuart as general counsel. Stuart joins from Sony Music’s AWAL US, where he was senior vice president of business affairs. At Seeker, he will be responsible for handling all of the label’s legal matters.
Digital verification and ID platform Prove Identity has hired Mitch Bompey as its inaugural chief legal officer, taking over from interim general counsel Lesley O’Neill. Bompey joins from fintech data platform Addepar, where he was general counsel and chief risk officer, overseeing all legal matters and helping grow the company’s international presence. At Prove, he will assume a similar mandate.
US financial services group Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp has named Frederick Erikson as its new general counsel, replacing Michael Guarino who is retiring from the business next year. Erikson arrives from Liberty Bank, where he was deputy GC. In his new role, he will also oversee all legal matters for Metropolitan Commercial Bank (MCB), a community-focused bank in New York City and surrounding areas.
US commercial and residential construction company Barton Malow has hired Brandon Booth as its chief legal officer, returning to the company after almost 14 years working in private practice. Booth joins from Honigman, where he has spent the past two years as a partner. He originally left Barton Malow as a project engineer in 2009 before going to law school. He will now lead all legal matters for its construction business and report directly to president and CEO Ryan Maibach.
GoDaddy is seeking a successor to Michele Lau, who made a splash at the internet domain registrar immediately on joining in July 2021. The chief legal officer of one of the world’s largest internet domain registrars will soon be changing her own web address. Michele Lau, CLO and corporate secretary of GoDaddy, will step down effective Nov. 17, the company said in a securities filing.
“With her expertise in M&A, technology licensing, and corporate governance, Liz [Fischer] emphasizes our commitment to upholding top-tier legal standards,” Rocket Software CEO Milan Shetti said. Rocket Software, an enterprise software development firm owned by Bain Capital, is building up its executive ranks to help boost growth, hiring seasoned tech industry lawyer Liz Fischer as its first chief legal officer. Fischer will report to Rocket Software CEO Milan Shetti. She joins Rocket Software from Perch, a venture-backed e-commerce platform that sells direct-to-consumer products made by its more than 100 brands. Fischer handled all legal functions as Perch’s general counsel, including managing litigation, negotiating mergers and acquisitions and debt transactions, and overseeing its intellectual property portfolio.
Promotions & Appointments:
Business law firm Mason Hayes & Curran has announced the appointment of Martin Kelleher as its new head of corporate. Mr Kelleher is a senior corporate partner with significant experience in international transactions, particularly in the technology and life science sectors.
Mid-West law firm MHP Sellors has announced the appointment of Caroline Meaney and Marina Keane as partners. Ms Meaney, a solicitor with 23 years of experience, now leads the commercial department at MHP Sellors. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in commercial law, commercial property transactions, and banking to clients. Ms Keane, with over 20 years of legal experience, is an experienced litigator with significant experience advising clients across a broad spectrum of contentious and non‐contentious matters. Her focus areas include public administrative law, judicial review, and regulatory law.
New global department leaders and chief marketing officer named amid wider leadership shuffle. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has finalised the changes to its leadership team, following up the appointment of its first CEO and senior partner with new leaders for its transactions and real estate teams, among others. Earlier this week the transatlantic firm said it had appointed Carol Osborne as global leader for its corporate and finance transactions practice, Nazir Dewji as global leader of its real estate team and Joel Lander as regional leader for corporate and finance transactions. Today the firm also said that it had appointed Alessandra Almeida Jones as global chief marketing officer, with responsibility for leading the firm’s business development, marketing and communications function. Almeida Jones, who is based in London, joined the firm in the role of global marketing and communications director from Baker McKenzie in January.
Roger Wilkes, the former chief operating officer for U.S. marketing and sales at PwC, joined Perkins Coie as COO in New York. Perkins Coie has hired Roger Wilkes, the former chief operating officer for U.S. marketing and sales at PwC, as its new COO, based in New York. “Roger is a high-performing and collaborative business leader who will help further elevate our position as a trusted advisor to the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders,” Bill Malley, Perkins Coie’s managing partner, said in a statement.
Bayard announced that Ericka F. Johnson has joined the firm as a director and chair of the business restructuring and liquidations practice. Bayard announced that Ericka F. Johnson has joined the firm as a director and chair of the business restructuring and liquidations practice. Johnson brings over 15 years of local and national corporate bankruptcy and restructuring experience to Bayard. She is versed in bankruptcy litigation matters, including preference, fraudulent transfer, turnover, and breaches of contract and fiduciary duty actions.
Martin Denyes takes over the lead management role in January after 13 years as a regional managing partner. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin’s longtime managing partner for the region that includes Toronto and Canada’s capital, Ottawa, will take on the leadership of the entire firm in the new year. For the last 13 years, Martin Denyes has been managing partner of the firm’s Ontario region, a member of its management board. He also played a management role in the U.K. office in 2015-16. He will take over the firmwide managing partner role on Jan. 1 from Peter Feldberg, who has led the firm since 2015.
Mergers & Alliances:
Deal will create transatlantic law firm with revenue of around $3.5bn. Partners at UK Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) and New York’s Shearman & Sterling have voted through a landmark merger deal to create a transatlantic law firm with revenue of around $3.5bn, housing 3,950 lawyers across 48 offices. A partner vote on the planned merger began in late September and was completed today. The merger required approval from 75% of each firm’s partnership, however the firms said in a statement that more than 99% of the votes cast at each firm were in favour of the merger. It said that was “a powerful testament to the strength of the combination and partner support for it”. The merged firm will be called A&O Shearman and will have approximately 800 partners working across 29 countries. Its combined revenues will catapault the firm ahead of its three global Magic Circle rivals: Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.
Bakers to offer Korean law advice through partnership with 20-lawyer KL Partners. Baker McKenzie is set to significantly expand its offering in Korea after forming a joint venture with high-profile Korean corporate and disputes firm KL Partners. Known as Baker McKenzie & KL Partners Joint Venture Law Firm (Baker McKenzie KLP JV), the JV will officially launch later this month and will be Korea’s largest international law firm by partner bench strength according to Bakers. Its 20-plus lawyer team will offer clients international and Korean legal advice spanning areas including energy and infrastructure, cross-border arbitration and litigation, and corporate/M&A.
The arrivals, including two partners, will establish a practice in life sciences and strengthen the firm’s force in regulatory compliance, energy, technology and insurance. A Dentons affiliate firm in Turkey has acquired a 23-lawyer firm in Istanbul to establish a practice in life sciences and strengthen its force in regulatory compliance, energy, technology and insurance. Balcıoğlu Selçuk Ardıyok Keki Attorney Partnership (BASEAK), the Istanbul-based firm that collaborates with Dentons in Turkey, has absorbed Bozoğlu İzgi Attorney Partnership (BI Legal).
Office Openings & Closing:
Yuli O’Grady, the first Venezuelan-born solicitor to qualify in Ireland, has launched a new practice based in Kildorrery, Co Cork. O’Grady Solicitors & Co will provide services throughout the north Cork region in areas such as family law matters, property matters, succession planning including wills, probate and inheritance, power of attorney, personal injuries, employment law and immigration.
Gibson Dunn, Willkie and Gunderson Dettmer are among the firms that signed new office leases in San Francisco in the first half of 2023. Law firm leasing activity in San Francisco appears to be headed up, as firms regain confidence in the office market and look to take advantage of soft market fundamentals and increased concessions, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. In fact, it’s not uncommon to receive an offer with greater than a year of free rent and over $200 per square foot in tenant improvements on a 10-year lease, the report said. “Legal occupiers are taking landlords up on those deals,” it said.
With its lease at 1500 Market St. expiring in the next year, the firm is looking to shrink from 80,000 square feet over four floors to 50,000 square feet spread over two. Philadelphia firm Dilworth Paxson is the latest law firm in the region looking to downsize its physical footprint, with chairman Lawrence McMichael indicating the firm was looking to shrink from 80,000 square feet over four floors to 50,000 square feet spread over two. “Like most law firms we expect to shrink the size of our footprint, largely because people work from home,” McMichael explained. “Most of our senior lawyers are here five days per week. … We have some people who are permanently working from home for personal reasons, and we accommodate that, others are in 2-3 days per week.”
The firm is looking to build on opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area projects. New Zealand firm K3 Legal has launched its debut international presence in Hong Kong via an association with local practice, Fred Kan & Co. The firm attributes its launch in the city to the synergies with its existing clientele in mainland China, Hong Kong and Australia, as well as the desire to build on opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area projects.
Latham’s new office space will be nearly 55% bigger than its current occupancy, while Kirkland is expected to be leasing more space than Linklaters. Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins have opted to take on additional office space at their new London offices, as U.S.-headquartered firms continue to grow their U.K. footprint. Kirkland & Ellis, whose new home is currently under construction at London office development 40 Leadenhall Street, will add space to the original minimum 215,000 sq ft it agreed to lease, according to one person close to the process.
Trowers to shed around 25 lawyers, including six partners, as Mishcon axes software solutions team. UK law firms Trowers & Hamlins and Mishcon de Reya have become the latest law firms to cut jobs. Trowers has begun a redundancy consultation, which is understood to affect around 25 UK lawyers including six partners, with most of those impacted working in the firm’s real estate department. Meantime, Mishcon de Reya is understood to have cut a team from its business services arm, making an 11-strong software solutions team redundant as its needs for lawtech change.
The cuts in pay and hours for senior staff raise questions about Stroock’s financial footing during its merger talks. Amid Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s protracted pursuit of a merger, the law firm cut pay and hours for senior business professionals at the beginning of July, according to sources familiar with the moves. The cuts in pay and hours raise questions about Stroock’s financial footing during its merger talks with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
General counsel compensation is rising partly because companies want their legal chief to have a slate of skills that is difficult to find in one person, according to a new report from Equilar. General counsel compensation is growing faster than CEO compensation, narrowing the pay gap for the two C-suite roles, a new study from the research firm Equilar found. The study found that median compensation for CEOs was 4.1 times that of general counsel in 2022. That compares with 4.3 times in 2018. The study included the 500 largest public companies by revenue that included GC pay in their proxy statements—179 firms in 2022.
Deloitte Legal’s total lawyer headcount in the UK has also increased and is now comparable with some of the country’s Top 50 law firms. The legal arm of Deloitte has boosted its revenue in the U.K. by over a fifth, according to people with knowledge of the professional services firm. In its U.K. firmwide results announced last week, revenue for Deloitte’s wider tax and legal business was given as £1.21 billion in the 12 months to May 2023—which represents growth of 9% on last year. However, Deloitte Legal has seen revenue growth of over twice this percentage, at a rate that is higher than the vast majority of U.K. Top 50 firms in the last financial year.
“We call it ‘change slipping through the back of the sofa,'” Steven Manton, part of a group of senior pricing professionals, said. ‘It’s millions and millions across a large law firm, when you add it all up.” Law firms have been increasing their investments in pricing and financial professionals. Yet, Big Law has still lost out on revenue over the last couple of years, due significantly to “self-inflicted” damage during the billing process. Why? It’s not that the pricing teams and firms’ own billing analysis aren’t working, analysts and consultants say. But a confluence of factors is holding firms back in realization.
Still, other law firm leaders are expressing concerns to partners about meeting budget, according to area legal recruiters. With the fourth quarter now underway, some law firm leaders in the Washington, D.C., region are optimistic about 2023 profits, citing sustained demand in large litigation and regulatory practices, despite slowdowns in transactional work.Firms in D.C., however, are still putting a greater emphasis on billing hygiene, as seen industrywide, according to the LawVision/BigHand report. Compared with last year, more law firms reported a focus on financial hygiene in billing and timekeeping and conducting profit education and training, according to the report.
An updated ranking based on 2022 data has revealed shifts in the compensation structure among the highest paid general counsel in Texas, with notably less cash among the top 20 than last year but an increase in total compensation. Texas’ top-earning general counsel saw a notable decrease in cash earnings but an uptick in overall compensation, according to Texas Lawyer rankings based on 2022 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Several familiar names remained within the top 10 by total cash, including AT&T legal chief David McAtee, who held the No. 1 spot for the third year in a row. Several people also moved higher within the top 10, including Lori Schechter, with health care wholesaler McKesson; Sean N. Markowitz, with oil and gas companies Cheniere Energy; and Marcia Backus, who recently retired from Occidental Petroleum.
Technology & Innovation:
The costs to run or buy generative AI-powered tools can be considerable, but there are no easy ways of getting around them. There are many questions still left unanswered about generative artificial intelligence: How will it be leveraged by the legal industry? How will it transform the delivery of legal services? But perhaps most interestingly, how much will it really cost?
Law.com International sat down with Macfarlanes’ chief knowledge innovation officer to see what Harvey really brings to a law firm. Harvey has quickly become one of the most recognizable names in legal AI. Major law firms, including Allen & Overy, adopted the tech to leverage the newfangled generative technology where they could. So popular is the technology that you need to join a waiting list to start the Harvey journey. But, last month, following a pilot programme which involved more than 70 fee earners and knowledge lawyers, Macfarlanes became one of the fortunate few to have joined the ‘Harvey’ pack.
Clio will roll out over a dozen product updates and new tools through the early months of 2024, including a solution tailored to personal injury firms that is already available. On the first day of ClioCon 2023, Clio announced that it will be rolling out a bundle of new tools in the coming months. In total, the company is releasing 15 upgrades or new solutions from now through the early months of 2024. Hemant Kashyap, the chief product officer at Clio, told Legaltech News that many of the add-ons to the company’s offerings are a result of client demand, an effort to adopt new innovations within their tools, and a move to centralize capabilities and allow more personalization.
The White House’s National Cybersecurity Strategy rests on five pillars, all of which will affect law firms. So, it’s time for law firms to double check their cyber sophistication and cyber readiness. Their clients and the federal government are starting to demand much more from everyone—including law firms. And I can vouch for the seriousness of these demands—earlier this summer, I was invited to the White House by the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD), the executive office which advises the president on cybersecurity and policy, to participate in the Technical Workshop on Space Systems Cybersecurity. The ONCD workshop is part of the White House’s ongoing efforts to identify gaps in U.S. cybersecurity policies and systems and prepare plans for tangible next steps to remedy those gaps in support of their National Cybersecurity Strategy. The report, released in March 2023 as a continuation of efforts started by previous administrations, aims to coordinate cybersecurity strategy and usher in a concentrated and centralized approach to cybersecurity.
Much has been written about the impact of generative AI on the legal profession, including in this column. This week we asked ChatGPT to compose an editorial on the issue and this is what we got.In an era where technology is rapidly reshaping industries, the legal profession finds itself at a crossroads, facing both incredible opportunities and pressing challenges. One such challenge that demands our immediate attention is the growing concern surrounding the misuse and abuse of generative AI in the legal field.
If your firm or organization has yet to explore AI for intellectual property processes, now is the time to begin exploring its capabilities and how AI can help your IP teams streamline operations and save time on manual tasks. The conversation around artificial intelligence (AI) in the intellectual property (IP) space is constantly evolving, and it is crucial to actively evaluate its potential. We often think of AI as a new technology because of its increased daily use and widespread media attention; however, while AI was once considered a novelty reserved for experts, it has now become a valuable tool for individuals and businesses alike, with increasing daily use and media attention. Law firms are recognizing the potential of generative AI, an AI system capable of generating, text, images or other media in response to prompts. A recent survey reported that 82% of law firm lawyers believe generative AI can be readily applied to legal work, and 51% said generative AI should be applied to legal work.
Diversity & Inclusion:
Sofiya Kalinova has become the first Deaf person to qualify as a barrister in Ireland and the first to practice law in Irish Sign Language (ISL). A graduate of University College Dublin and the King’s Inns, Ms Kalinova was called to the Bar by Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell.
Kelly Batts will work with firm management and various diversity teams to develop and implement DEI objectives at Cooley. Cooley has hired Kelly Batts, a managing director focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy and workforce transformation at Deloitte, as its first chief diversity officer. In an email, Batts said he was drawn to “the opportunity to further DEI objectives at one firm, as opposed to the varied clients that I would be advising on the consultancy side.”
UK law firm TLT, which operates in Northern Ireland, has announced a new ethnic diversity target designed to eliminate barriers to entry into the legal profession for aspiring ethnic minority lawyers and to improve diversity.
After receiving nomination from across the New Jersey legal community, the Law Journal is pleased to announce the 2023 Diverse Attorneys of the Year.
The Diversity Dividends Collective shares in this article five “lessons learned” for legal departments that wish to influence inclusion with their outside counsel. The current profusion of outside counsel DEI surveys that law firms receive from their clients has hit an all-time high. While well intended, these surveys haven’t moved the needle at a rate commensurate with the work involved. And, at their worst, they can actually work at cross-purposes with legal departments’ objective of fostering a culture of diversity and inclusivity by diverting valuable time from diversity leaders to repeatedly define the problem rather than working on solutions. This need not be the case. Most legal departments have neither the resources nor the scientific expertise to craft and conduct an effective assessment of their outside counsel DEI that produces more inclusive teams. Many have told us they don’t know where to start other than perhaps the raft of firmwide data produced annually by dozens of reputable third-party organizations. And even then, it takes substantial time and ability to analyze the data and successfully operationalize the findings to align with organizational values.
While law firms are prudent to view remote and hybrid work arrangements as an important recruiting and retention tool, the reason why some candidates prefer remote work illustrates the importance of robust and effective DEI programs. Some three years after the pandemic we are in a new world—and the workplace, like so many other spaces, has drastically changed. Of course, one of the most debated topics in the changing workplace is the long-term adoption of hybrid or fully remote working arrangements. While law firms are prudent to view remote and hybrid work arrangements as an important recruiting and retention tool, the reason why some candidates prefer remote work illustrates the importance of robust and effective DEI programs. The Desire for Flexible Work: Though hybrid and remote work arrangements were around before the pandemic, they were generally the exception, with only 2% of pre-pandemic job listings offering remote or hybrid work schedules. See Ella Ceron, “Escaping Discrimination by Working from Home,” L.A. Times, Nov. 3, 2022. Today, the number of positions offering remote work arrangements is trending at 15% of all job listings on LinkedIn, down from a peak of 20% in the early part of the pandemic. Though a seemingly low figure, it’s important to keep in mind that only about 39% of American jobs are capable of being performed remotely. See Kim Parker, “About a Third of U.S. Workers Who Can Work From Home Now Do So All the Time,” Pew Research Center, Mar. 30, 2023.
In a roundtable published by litigation funder Burford Capital, leaders at Morgan Lewis, Gibson Dunn, Mayer Brown and Proskauer discuss the client- and firm-side motivations behind the growth in Big Law contingency practices.
Law firms risk missing out on an already-short list of leadership candidates without rewards and incentives that are directly linked to leadership goals. Law firms are tweaking partner compensation in response to competitive pressures. And certainly, some firms have taken steps to recognize nontraditional compensation criteria such as collaboration. But on the whole, compensation drivers have largely remained unchanged since comp plans were first developed. Many comp plans still in use today were created as early as the ’80s, when firms had fewer competitors, more regional work, and not many LPOs or other ancillary businesses. As a result, “compensation plans for yesteryear often fail to recognize what is required of lawyers today,” said Tim Corcoran, a law firm consultant at Corcoran Consulting Group.